Notre-Dame des Flambeaux
Holy Week got off to a roaring start Monday, April 15, 2019, as the cathedral of Our Lady of Paris erupted in flames.
Hundreds of sapeurs pompiers battled to save this monument to the trafficking in souls. Thousands gathered at the scene on Île de la Cité, and sympathy-scenes around the world, to gasp, to gape, to weep, to mourn, and to pray that the rocks upon which this church was built– ignorance, superstition, slavery, degradation of women, child abuse, and landed estates– might be saved from the fire.
The spire collapsed. The roof above the sanctuary was consumed. The altar was covered in debris. Wooden beams supporting stone vaults were destroyed.
No one was killed. No was seriously injured. The mourners everywhere were about to thank God for these small favors when news of a miracle swept through the crowds. The crown of thorns, the head wear supposedly affixed to the pate of Jesus Christ enroute to his crucifixion, had been saved from the inferno. Surely the hand of God, or the three to six hands of the father, the son, and the holy ghost had reached down to save what is truly precious and important to the propagation of religion– fetishism.
The fire moved the conscience and the liquid assets of billionaires everywhere, producing even a sort of bidding war among the “ultra” bourgeoisie of France. Francois Henri-Pinault, chairman of the luxury goods group Kering SA, and double-lucky bastard married to Salma Hayek, promised to donate €100 million to rebuild the church. Upon hearing that, Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) pledged €200 million. Then, upon hearing that, and checking the spot-price of Brent crude, Total SA pledged another €100 million. Then Sotheby’s in London auctioned 125 bottles of Mouton Rothschild, raising more millions. Gates was in for some millions. Trump said he was in too but nobody believed that.
By the end of the week a billion euros, give or take, had been pledged. Upon hearing that, the board of directors of the cathedral Our Lady of Reims contacted the German high command of the Bundeswehr to request an artillery unit resume shelling the cathedral, as it had near the close of World War One. “We promised to split the revenue from postcard sales with the Bundeswehr,” said one director.
Those of us with memories deeper than the last chat in a snapchat message, might recall the Grenfell Tower fire on June 14, 2017 in London. After years of warnings about the lack of fire safety from official commissions, industry experts, and tenant associations; after an earlier fire in a different building covered with similar cladding had killed several, the Grenfell Tower, 24 stories of it was wreathed in flame as the external cladding caught fire and transmitted the flames around and up the structure. Over seventy people were killed and close to 300 were injured and/or made homeless.
In this case, unlike the case of Our Lady of the Torches, the bourgeoisie were not so moved to assist those requiring assistance. There were no pledges, no contributions of hundreds of millions of pounds to aid those people. After all, these individuals, many of whom were dark-skinned, all of whom were poor, some of whom were squatters, some of whom were immigrants, did not amount separately or collectively to the value of the crown of thorns. These people weren’t a crown, they were the thorns in the side of the British, and international, ruling classes.
So what did they get? First a government promise of £5 million, then a second government pledge of £28 million, but not directly to the victims, and then a third government promise of, £5500 of which 500 was in cash, to each victim. Prime Minister Theresa (Shambolic-It’s-All-Gone-Pear-Shaped) May tried to assure immigrants displaced by the fire that they would not be required to produce documents authorizing entry, but two weeks after that the Tory (We-Can’t-Do-Anything-Right-And-That’s-Our- Secret-To-Success) Government corrected Shambolic May’s mistake.
So that’s where we are at this moment in this so-called civilization, this era and mode where wealth supports, no, not supports, actually exists as cruelty, pettiness, ignorance— where wealth exists as, in, by, of, and for the reproduction of religion. And human beings are just fuel for the fires.
If we want to stop that burning, we have to liquid-ate the bourgeoisie.
April 19, 2019